Off consecutive ACC road losses, suspicions are being looked into just how good this Virginia team really is. The betting odds reflect this in principle for this 7:00 EST contest which is on ESPNU.
Losing on the road in the ACC is not unheard of, but the Cavaliers were 12.5-point favorites at Georgia Tech and fell 70-68 and six-point faves at Georgia Tech and lost 68-64. Next up is a home date with Miami-Fl., who is 13-1 and has won eight in a row (6-2 ATS) since a stunning defeat to Northeastern, 78-77 as 16-point favorites. Does Virginia bounce back our the Hurricanes just a better team?
There is has been a great deal of focus on what has been the Cavaliers problems and the offense has received most of the attention. Despite what is supposed to be an improved offensive team, Virginia (12-3, 6-7 ATS) has lapses, which have really shown up on the road. They may rank 17th in the nation in three-point shooting percentage (39.8%), but this not the case on the road where they are averaging only 66 point per game. Virginia averages just 15 long balls a game, making a little over six on average and Malcolm Brogdon has converted on only 3-for-19 from the 3-point line in the losses, which becomes an issue.
What has more caught my attention is the Virginia defense, which has held only one of its past six foes below 43 percent shooting. The defensive intensity is lacking like we expect from Tony Bennett squads. You see the defense in spurts, but not the usual square body defensive positioning we are accustomed to seeing and if they play the same way against Miami, the Cavaliers could extend losing streak.
Miami Seldom Beats Itself
When Jim Larranaga took the Miami job, most wondered what he was thinking. The Hurricanes job is below average by ACC standards, not an easy place to recruit and Larranaga-coached clubs were always about the team, not the individual.
While Larranaga might not be a fixture in the South Beach club scene, he’s made Miami a high profile outfit and has those following the NCAA basketball odds full attention at 10-3 ATS. Once again the Hurricanes have a stellar backcourt with players like Angel Rodriguez (11.4 PPG), Sheldon McClellan (16.3) and Ja’Quan Newton (12.1). Miami is versatile enough to play fast or slower, but as opposed to most teams that score over 80 points a contest (82.8), they dig in on defense also and hold opposing teams to 40.1 percent shooting.